How to obtain your Immigration Records

B&W 150h

Author: Alexander D. Sanchez, Esq.
Date: September, 13 2016


Having access to your immigration records is a vital first step to many immigration applications. Relying on your own memory for dates you left the country, for example, could delay your application (at best) or even result in the denial of your application on the grounds of submitting false information. Here are a few key resources for obtaining records that the government already has about your immigration file.

Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] and Privacy Act [PA]

The FOIA gives you the power to request records in connection with your immigration history. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has outlined for us where to submit FOIA requests. The department varies depending on the type of document you are requesting. For example, information regarding entry and exit (prior to 1982) is made through Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Whereas deportation records would be requested directly to USCIS. For a full listing of record requests matched up with proper departments, click here. Form G-639 is the customary form to use when making any FOIA immigration related requests.

USCIS Address and Submission Options

File your initial FOIA/PA requests with USCIS by:

– Regular Mail:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
National Records Center, FOIA/PA Office
P. O. Box 648010
Lee’s Summit, MO 64064-8010

For Overnight or Certified Mail:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
National Records Center, FOIA/PA Office
150 Space Center Loop, Suite 300
Lee’s Summit, MO 64064-2139.

Fax 816-350-5785

If you are requesting records about a person and are able to scan the subject of record’s notarized signature or signature made under penalty of perjury, USCIS will accept it as an attachment to an e-mail at

Checking Status of FOIA Requests & Processing Times

The status of your USCIS FOIA request is now available online. Enter the control number that was provided after USCIS received your request. The control number will begin with the letters NRC, COW, APP, etc.

If your request is pending, the status will indicate the position of your request relative to all pending USCIS requests in the same processing track.

If USCIS processed and responded to your request within the past 6 months, you will see the date your request was processed.

Status information is updated daily.

Current Average FOIA Request Processing Times

Please note that these times do not include the days required to scan the request into our processing system. (All listed times are in business days)

USCIS uses a three-track system to process FOIA requests for A-File material.

Track One (31 days): Simple requests.
Track Two (108 days): Complex inquiries that normally necessitate additional search and review time.
Track Three (30 days): Requests by individuals scheduled for a hearing before an immigration judge.

USCIS uses a two-track system to process FOIA requests for non-A-File material

Track One (58 days)
Track Two (125 days): Processing time impacted by sensitivity of records, volume of records and extent of review process.

FOIA Check Status Request